Zach Aston-Reese inked a professional tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs this morning, but the Oilers were reportedly in hot pursuit.
According to The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman, the Oilers were one of the teams looking to bring him in on a professional tryout.
Aston-Reese, 28, spent last season splitting time between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks, the latter of whom he was traded to in the Rickard Rakell deal.
He played in 69 games last season scoring five goals and 15 points while averaging 13:02 in a depth role. He, however, is a defensive specialist who would’ve been a great fit to the Oilers bottom six.
While he contributed offence at a six percent rate below league average last season, according to hockeyviz.com, he provided defence at a 10 percent rate above league average.
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Jim Matheson reported the left-shot centre was pursued by the Oilers in 2017 when he came out of college. Instead, Aston-Reese signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and has appeared in 230 NHL games.
He would’ve been a great addition for an Oilers team that’s still re-tooling it’s bottom-six. A defensive specialist like him would’ve been a great add even on a one-year cheap deal. Nonetheless, Aston-Reese will now head to Toronto and compete for a roster spot there.

#NATIONVACATION TO LAS VEGAS

  • When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
  • Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
  • What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
  • How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy) 
  • Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]